How Well Do Americans Understand Mary Jane?

How Well Do Americans Understand Mary Jane?

Marijuana is always in the national discourse; its legalization, usage, and all other matters. The debate surrounding weed is contentious with different people taking strong stands one way or the other, even in the political arena. We sought to find out the people’s sentiments on weed and what informed their position. So, we tried to determine what different participants knew about marijuana even as we asked them to indicate whether they support its legalization.

Marijuana IQ Test

This ‘IQ test’ was meant to determine how much participants of the survey knew about marijuana. We categorized the findings into two. Those that came from people who supported the legalization of weed and those against its legalization, as shown in the table below. In the survey, we asked 1096 Americans 8 questions to test how much they know about marijuana. Among the participants, 860 support full marijuana legalization while the other 236 oppose it.

Here are the overall results:

Supporter Opposer
Poor 27,21% 11,44%
Below Average 46,74% 28,81%
Average 24,53% 58,90%
Good 1,51% 0,85%

Poor = give 1-2 right answers

Below Average = give 3-4 right answers

Average = give 5-6 right answers

Good = give 7-8 right answers

  • 27% of marijuana supporters ( those who support full marijuana legalization) can only give 1-2 right answers, while 12% of opposers have an equally poor understanding of marijuana. 
  • 59% opposers can give 5-6 right answers, while only 24% of supporters could provide the same number of correct answers.

Here is a detailed performance of both groups on each question:

Your state has okayed marijuana in certain forms. Does that mean it’s legal?


  • 36% of supporters said definitely yes, and 26% said definitely no
  • 45% of opposers said definitely yes, and 15% said definitely no

Verdict: Maybe not. This is because sometimes, different jurisdictions have different marijuana laws, and various strains of cannabis are treated differently by the law. Citizens, therefore, aren't able to say with certainty whether marijuana is legal or illegal.

What does THC stand for?


  • 76% of supporters can give the right answer, while only 68% of opposers can.

Verdict: Tetrahydrocannabinol

Because marijuana is a natural herb, it doesn’t have health risks.


  • 30% of marijuana supporters think that marijuana has no health risks since it’s a natural herb. More surprisingly, 9% of those opposed to marijuana legalization share the same opinion

Verdict: Being natural doesn’t mean it's safe. Research has found that marijuana, though natural, has adverse effects on the user. These effects are both mental and physical. The psychological effects of marijuana are especially severe when one starts using it as a teenager. Physical effects include breathing problems, palpitations, nausea, and vomiting, among others.

Among eating, smoking, drinking, what's the safest way to consume marijuana?


  • 44% of marijuana supporters believe that eating is the safest marijuana consumption method. 
  • 66% of opposers think there’s no “safest” way to consume marijuana

Verdict: Whether it's safe or not does not depend on how you consume it. The differences in the impact of marijuana taken one way or the other, however, aren't wide enough to make it possible to declare one method safe and others unsafe. Safety in using marijuana is found not only in the manner of using it but also in the user's personal habits such as exercising, using it in moderation, and maintaining hygiene.

Out of every 10 people who use marijuana, how many will become addicted?


  • Only 6% of those supporting marijuana legalization think 10/10 people who use marijuana will become addicted to it, while for opposers, the percentage is 20%.
  • 32% of the supporters of the legalization of weed think no one will become addicted to marijuana after using it.

Verdict: 3/10. Recent research says that about 3 in 10 people who use marijuana may develop some form of cannabis use disorder.

How many marijuana overdose deaths per year are there?


  • Among marijuana supporters, 53% believe no one dies because of a marijuana overdose, whereas 24% of those against marijuana believe thousands of people die of marijuana overdose every year.

Verdict: None, the lethal dose of marijuana is so high that it is virtually impossible to attain it. There have not been any recorded cases of acute toxicity.

Can cannabidiol treat seizures?


  • 56% of supporters think CBD can treat seizures.
  • 54% of opposers think it has potential

Verdict: Potential. In the recent past, there have been findings showing that marijuana can potentially treat seizures. FDA authorized the use of Epidiolex, a marijuana-based drug used for the treatment of seizures in children with tractable cases of epilepsy.

Do weed smokers hold a higher risk for lung cancer?


  • 65% of opposers think weed smokers might hold a higher risk of lung cancer. More surprisingly, 47% of supporters share the same thought.

Verdict: Nothing is confirmed yet. Researchers so far haven't found a higher risk of lung cancer in people who smoke marijuana.

What are Americans' opinions on These Controversial Issues?

We asked the participants whether they support these actions:

  • Driving while high
  • Teaching while high
  • Doing surgery while high
  • Attending lectures/going to school while high
  • Attending company meetings while high


  • 55% of supporters don’t support any of the mentioned behaviors. The percentage of opposers is 77%.

Among marijuana supporters:

weed supporter

Going to school while high (25%), Teaching while high (18%), and Attending company meetings while high (18%) are the three behaviors supported the most by weed supporters.

Among marijuana opposers:


Attending company meetings while high (10%), Going to school while high (9%), and Doing surgery while high (8%)  are the three behaviors supported the most by non-weed supporters.


We launched the survey on MTurk. To make sure the participants are U.S pet CBD users, we set qualifications to ensure that participants are located only in the U.S.

We also have an attention-check question in the middle of the survey to ensure participants do not randomly answer the survey. Because the survey relies on self-reporting, issues such as telescoping and exaggeration can influence responses. Please also be advised that this survey’s results do not reflect our opinions. 

Fair Use Statement​

If you know someone who could benefit from our findings, feel free to share this project with them. The graphics and content are available for noncommercial reuse. All we ask is that you link back to this page so that readers get all the necessary information and we receive proper credit.

Dwight K. Blake Written by: Dwight K. Blake

Dwight was a Mental Health counselor at Long Island Psychotherapy & Counseling in Westbury, New York for more than 15 years. He believes that CBD is the prime solution to this mental illness and more-- with proper research, medical acknowledgment, and application.
Through his work at AmericanMarijuana, together with the rest of the team, he wishes to provide everyone with genuine results and high-quality product reviews for everyone to enjoy for free.

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